WSJ: Samsung Is Betting Big On Flexible Phones

We've known for a while that Samsung is readying phones with flexible screens. Now, however, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Samsung is pushing forward with the concept more quickly than ever, in order to avoid being beaten to the finish line by other firms.

The new phones simply swap plastic for glass in the screen. The OLEDs you find in plenty of other displays can be put on flexible materials — like metal foil — which then makes it possible to create a device both unbreakable and bendable.

Samsung hasn't told the Journal how much it has invested in the new bendy phones. However, it points out that it has been spurred along by growing innovation in the display market, from the likes of LG and Sharp. Seems that is enough to rush out a bendy phone as soon as possible.

And that is just what it plans to do. The Journal reports that a "person familiar with the situation" told it that devices will be released in the first half of 2013. Bendy phones for all!

But that raises a fine question: who the hell wants a bendy phone anyway? Aside from plenty of gimmick value and the ability to flex when squeezed into the pocket of your tightest pants, it's not obvious what it adds to the user experience of a phone. Is a bendy phone something you want in your life? [WSJ]

Image: Samsung



    My immediate thought was there would be a lower chance of screen damage.

      Exactly. I currently own a Samsung GS3 but would happily upgrade to a Samsung G Note if it bent in my pocket without breaking.

        I dropped my GS3 *8cm* onto tiles yesterday, microfractures all the way around the edge of the screen and 3 large cracks across it, quoted $220 bucks to replace the LCD/digitizer assembly, and DIY-ing the front glass replacement involves precision heatgun work and high risk of screwing the touch calibration or slagging the phone altogether.

        It's my own stupid fault for not having a case (and I'm waiting for the one I ordered to arrive before I bother with repairs) but a safely droppable phone would be a godsend.

    How about a phone you can wrap around your wrist and wear like a watch? My hope is that they will be smaller and lighter than current smartphones. I'd take one if it was a feature phone and just start using my Playbook for all the smartphone things I do on my phone now.

      Don't Nokia have a patent on a flexible screen phone able to be worn as a watch?

        If they do it is likely that Samsung could license this from Nokia, as they're not technology stifling asshats. Possibly for the price of allowing Nokia use their bendy screen technology. Two grown up companies in "competition" for best bendy phones would be great.

      Agreed I have been waiting years for this....

    How about because they want to be first to market and beat Apple so if the rotten core gang use the same tech later on Samsung will have a prior art defense in court and Apple won't be able to sue.

    Just put your current handset in the microwave for about 5-10 minutes and then watch it become bendy before it catches on fire,

    +1 for the watch. Just need Google Wallet to be everywhere then I got no need for pockets anymore.

    How many times have you got into your car and had to adjust the phone to suit the shape of your legs and waist. this would solve that problem straight away. So long as they keep it nice and slim, I'll grab one, just for that.

    The Galaxy s4 is going to be a beast! :D. Flexible screen or not. What I don't understand is do they mold it to a steel frame? (so it isn't flexible for the owner) or no steel frame, and it will be really flexible?
    Will be interesting to see.

      Samsung were making a big fuss last year about graphene, demonstrating a screen being hit with a big hammer and not sustaining any damage. If they don't offer something like that, I'll be very disappointed.

    It would be nice to be able to put it in your other back pocket like your wallet. Not that my wallet bends that much any more with all that plastic in it anyway....!

    The flexible display I don't think is that much of an issue, it is the rest of the stuff that goes with it. E.g. flexible motherboard, chips, processors, batteries, memory, etc.

    The countless times when you can't find a rolled up $5 note to do some coke in the work bathroom, now just roll your phone into a tube!! But yeah, drugs are terrible... Unless you snort then with your new bendy phone!! But yeah, they are pretty bad... Or are they?!? Yes, they are...

    If it bends at a sharp enough angle, this will allow spring-loaded retractable displays. This means having any aspect-ratio you like, limited only by your display's fully unrolled size. Great for viewing panoramas, cinema-aspect content and "LED scroller" apps. Or, extend a portrait phone display from one of the long sides for instant tablet.

      Yep this is the most useful idea I reckon. I remember seeing something like this from a 90's sci fi show - Seaquest DSV or something like that?

    My bet is on less breaky screen with the possibility of it being curved to make for a more comfortable fit. Imagine having the display wrap around the edges of the phone. Fwhoooaah!

    I actually think this will be a much bigger hit with young women. Tight pants when clubbing, squeezing in to tiny handbags, putting it in your back pocket and sitting on it.

    I get the feeling Samsung may be targeting the coveted tight pants wearing hipster brigade. Now Hipsters will be able to wear pants as scrotum strangling as they like without worrying about their phone jutting out of their pants.
    Brilliant work Samsung!

      You do realise mens tight pants still have crotch room right? It's only the ladies tight pants that leave nowhere to put anything.

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